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Al-Sarraj Calls for a Unified Libyan Force from East to West to Rid Libya of ISIS

  (Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj has called on Libyan military forces to unite in the fight against the rogue militant group known as ISIS who still have control over parts of Sirte.

“We trust there can’t be any solution to overcome that organization (ISIS) apart from a unified military commandment that gathers all Libyans regions,” Fayez Al-Sarraj said in an interview with AFP.

There has been an on-going fight by the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) forces to wipe ISIS out of Libya once and for all.

Al-Sarraj hopes that a unified force, with armed groups from eastern and western Libya, will give ISIS less of a chance of surviving in Libya.

The GNA militias have lost over 200 fighters in their battles against ISIS. Some of the fighters were killed by suicide attacks, a tactic that the GNA fighters were not used to.

About 30,000 of Sirte’s residents are either stranded or held hostage by ISIS. ISIS has also been using residence as human shields.

In May the European Union, the Unites States and other countries agreed to lift the arms embargo that was put in place in 2011 following the Libyan uprising that started in February of 2011. The removal of the arms embargo allowed the GNA to obtain the weaponry that they needed to rid Libya of ISIS.

Al-Sarraj has also admitted that the GNA forces are getting “limited assistance” in their fight against ISIS from foreign countries that Al-Sarraj did not name.

There has been resistance among the public to the idea of having foreign militaries involved in Libya, however, Al-Sarraj expressed that he is not against the idea and is willing to accept more foreign assistance.

Al-Sarraj explains that “There is limited assistance — expertise and logistics — and we have said in the past that we are ready to accept the help and support of brotherly and friendly countries.”

Al-Sarraj further explains that any foreign assistance to Libya must be “in the framework of a request by the GNA and in coordination with it, in order to preserve national sovereignty.”

Along with challenges to establishing a secure state the GNA is struggling to establish an economy that was destroyed by the conflict that has been, for the most part, on-going since 2011.

“All we can do is work, by all means possible, to bring our country out of these crises. But there is no magic wand, all we can do is try,” said Al-Sarraj.

“Victory is only a matter of time. We hope it will come very soon,” he said.

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